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Ajax Amsterdam

posted by Kevin Lannister

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Ajax was founded in 1900 and in less than ten years it managed to reach the higher echelons of Dutch football. Historically, Ajax is the most successful club in the Netherlands with 33 Eredivisie titles and 18 KNVB Cups. It is one of the “big three” clubs along with PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord who have dominated Dutch football and have never been relegated from the top division

In 1917 it has won the Netherland’s national cup, the KNVB Beker, and the following season managed to win the title for the first time. Although in the 1920’s it was a regional power it wasn’t until the 1930’s that Ajax showed it’s true power winning five national championships and becoming the most successful Dutch team of the decade.

In 1934 the club buit a new ground for the team, the “Ajax Stadion” which would soon become known as “De Meer” after its location in the Watergrafsmeeer section of the city.

In 1960 a team featuring players like Sjaak Swart, Tonnie Pronk, Bennie Muller and Henk Groot brought Ajax the eight championship in the clubs history but in the years to follow, the club’s fortunes took a turn for the worse and in the 1964-1965 season Ajax found themselves battling relegation. Johan Cruyff was the one that brought back Ajax and in the 1966-1967 season he scored 33 goals in 30 matches helping the team win the double, the league and cup for the first time in history.

Squad of Ajax Amsterdam in 1973

The 70’s saw Ajax wining three consecutive European cups, an accomplishment that only Real Madrid had achieved in the 50’s. The club won six championships titles in the 1977-1985 period. Whereas in the thirties, sixties and seventies Feyenoord had been Ajax’ main rivals, in the eighties PSV Eindhoven emerged as the club’s strongest challenger.

The 1980’s ended on a low note for Ajax as talented players left the club, the Dutch tax authority uncovered massive tax fraud and UEFA suspended the team after an iron bar was thrown at the opposing goalkeeper during a UEFA Cup match. Under the management of Louis van Gaal, Ajax won the UEFA Cup in 1992 to become the second club, after Juventus to have won all three major European Club competitions.

Ajax’s return as a European force was short lived as Van Gaal and several members of the squad soon departed to some of the biggest clubs in Europe. The 2000’s was a lean decade for the club with only two Eredivise Championships won. However, the club’s academy continued to produce stars such as Sneijder and van der Vaart

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